Tapestry.so – No code project breakdown of time, costs, and a guide for others

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My partner (Steve Schlafman) and I recently launched Tapestry, an exercise for founders to invest in their relationships, and it was met with an incredible reaction.

One of the most interesting results was the outpouring of support and questions we received around how we built the product, why we built the exercise, and how much did it all cost. In the interest of supporting those thinking about building something, launching a project, and sharing resources – below is a breakdown of everything we did. I hope it brings some much needed visibility into the world of no-code projects and transparency into building a minimum viable product and getting it launched.

Ok enough preamble lets dive in…

Naming a project

I had done a lot of this work in the past with founding teams and co-founders and never had a great catch all way of explaining it. Steve and I landed on Tapestry for a few reasons;

It was available! (progress over perfection – don’t let a lack of a name stop your momentum)

Its an easy reference to “tap” into the work later for partners and teams

Its the perfect analogy to explain “weaving” together a story of people and their ideals

I will share that while brainstorming, I asked Steve if this was a little too “woo woo” to which he replied, “well, I am a little woo!” I think together we really struck the right balance, and it resonates right away.

I used NameCheap to grab a .TLD for Tapestry that was available and we were off.

Cost: $64.88 (per year)

Turning ideas into reality – wireframing

The next step in the process for me was coming up with a structure and format we wanted to use. I dusted off my old accounts and looked into services like Balsamiq, Figma, and some others and eventually landed on Whimsical.com. I feel semi-confident in my own wire framing abilities and really wanted to work through the ideas I had on a shared canvas that we could use. I set aside about 2 hours of deep work time, put on my headphones and favorite deep work playlist, and started jamming.

This work was a great way to get ideas down on paper, not worry about final copy, and just start moving things around. Putting myself in the seat of a founder or someone learning about Steve and I for the first time was helpful. During this time we had a few jam sessions together to finalize the basic ideas of what we wanted. There is nothing quite like getting things down on paper to literally be on the same page with your partner, and work we encourage with Tapestry, and that is what we did here.

The inputs here were twofold;

  1. The layout and general design of the single serving landing page for Tapestry.
  2. A “one pager” (ended up as two!) that is a detailed overview for founders who want the coach guided practice. This is a higher bar for download and includes pricing.

Total cost: $0.00 (I know! Almost feels unfair that I didn’t give this amazing boostrapped team any money but hoping to help spread the word here and teams start using it)

Design and Development – no-code project launching

I landed on using Upwork because of the incredible marketplace of people and projects that exist there. It is an incredible way to source talent for your work, provide a safe space to transact, and communicate with prospective collaborators. There are a number of pre-built templates now and project plan outlines that help guide the process.

What I have found most helpful when posting a project like this is to have everything written out in a Google Doc first. The deliverables need to be super clear; in this case a Webflow design page with a digital download + one – pager overview of our coach guided offering.

We jammed on the outline of the project, the specific deliverables. Although UpWork guides you through writing out a project plan for designers + developers to bid on, I have found that going through an outline first in a doc allows you to more easily copy/paste text into this format and reference the doc later with your provider.

There are inevitably things that you do not think of in the moment, iterations that happen along the way, and revisions required. Having these explicitly called out early can save you a lot of time and heartache. In our case I was able to get just about everything written up but I ended up forgetting a few things. Since we had revisions built in, we were able to easily get them added.

What did I forget?

  • Coupon codes! (an easy add in Webflow) but a great way to incentivize inclusion in newsletters, make people feel special, and provide a value add to existing clients and platforms we are tapped into
  • Terms of Service and Privacy Policy (essential and my designer was ready to link to them – we just had to provide them)

I had a few calls and messages through the Upwork system and landed on someone that was easy to communicate with, had done great work, and thought could deliver what we needed in the time we had. For what its worth the globalization of talent is incredible and in our case, our partner was located in New Zealand.

Total cost: $900.00 We got bids for higher and lower but I chose this provider based on reviews, testimonials, and most importantly other work on his portfolio that was excellent.

Hosting + Checkout Solutions (or why Webflow was right for us)

I chose Webflow for this project for a few reasons;

  • I learn by doing, and with its meteoric growth I wanted to try it out.
  • Its a fully cross platform compliant platform which makes cross device usage simple.
  • It has a ecom/checkout flow that is simple and built right in.
  • Webflow has a very easy to edit/change/publish WYSIWIG system that is very nice to collaborate on and make text changes.
  • It supports signups and Stripe integration right out of the box
  • The yearly costs were a no brainer for having all the devops and security fun figured out

Pointing the domain to Webflow is a snap, and instructions for most major registrars are documented. This alleviated any back end nonsense to deal with and just go faster.

One of my product principles is “just ship it”

Webflow let us get something up, make changes, and ship something fast.

Total cost: $348.00 (per year)

The details matter

We really wanted to focus on the details. This meant adding a little extra to parts of the site to make people feel comfortable. We landed on creating illustrations of both of us to bring a congruent look and feel. Getting these done on Fiverr was a breeze. Bonus: Steve now uses his as a profile pic everywhere 🙂

Fiverr is an interesting “neighborhood” on the web. You truly never know what you are going to get. I reached out to 2 different illustrators who all offered 24 to 48 hour turnarounds to take a photo and turn it into an illustration. Here are the results:

Nice!

Total cost: $29.00
Truth be told, we ended up going through 3 different designers. Lets just say that I will spare you the details, but our other “illustrators” did a great job digitizing Steve and my pictures left some things to be desired 😂 .

Contact + Operations

Creating a gmail account for Tapestry made a ton of sense. You have the entire infrastructure of google and gmail behind you, and full integration into any email client. The cost of $0.00 is not bad either. This also gave a very great way to check the boxes on a lot of no-code platforms and integration services that require a phone number.

Benefits of Gmail:

  • Email integrations
  • Phone number support through Google Voice with every account
  • Security and convenience
  • Cost – $0.00 from having to setup CNAME stuff with the domain

Costs here were low/free because we were using existing infrastructure off the shelf and didn’t worry about perfection or polish. We were more interested in getting this out the door.

Total cost: $1346.88 (here is the sheet)

If I am honest, we were expecting to spend more. I think when hiring outside help you have to think about 3 dimensions; time, quality, and price but you only get to pick two. Steve and I set a fairly ambitious deadline for ourselves when we started. I think we decided to make this happen in December, and wanted to launch by mid January. This turned out to be very optimistic and due to balancing our own executive coaching work and revisions we ended up launching on February 3rd 2021.

Launch

Steve has an amazing audience + blog. He has built an incredible platform of trust and great advice over the years and therefore leveraging that made a lot of sense. He wrote up a great blog post about Tapestry and we have had lots of inbound from that moment.

He also wrote an epic Tweet Storm

I like to shout from the hilltops too (see my terrible dad jokes on Twitter) and launched my own version of this with a Tapestry blog post.

We of course launched on Product Hunt and I got to dust off my PH skillz that I haven’t used in awhile.

The trough of disillusionment kicked in soon after launch – we saw about 1k people visit the site according to GA. While it was great to see this spike, its always about what happens AFTER a launch that matters.

We were also able to get some amazing newsletter mentions from friends, Venture Capital firms, and other programs and coaches. Offering up a discount to these communities is also a great way to make progress.

An overnight success 10 years in the making

None of this could be possible without Steve Schlafman and I am grateful to be working with him! We have both amassed a reputation with teams and co-founders we have worked alongside, coached, and invested in over the past 10+ years to make this happen. I like to think of the fact that any “overnight success” probably has a decade of hard work behind it and I think Tapestry is no different.

We went profitable day 1 and have booked our first Coach Guided programs and working on more to come. I feel very lucky to be in the position I am in, working with people I trust, and serving founders I love.

Building something? Hope this is helpful!

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